Celebrate Earth Day the Arbor Way and plant a tree
Round Rock Leader
Saturday April 2, 2005
By Emsud Horozovic, City of Round Rock Forestry Manager
This month’s article is dedicated to our fourth annual Arbor Day Tree Planting and Celebration which just happens to fall on Earth Day, which makes it an even more appropriate day to plant trees. I cannot think of better way to spend Saturday, April 23, than celebrating both Arbor Day and Earth Day. Come out and join us on Saturday, April 23, from 8:30 am to noon and help us fill our city’s Old Settlers Park with trees.
History of Arbor Day
Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. Arbor Day’s founder J. Sterling Morton was a Nebraskan journalist who loved nature and used his newspaper to spread his enthusiasm for trees back in the 1800s.
In the words of Morton, “all the people strive on Arbor Day to plant many, many trees, both forest and fruit. May the day and the observance thereof be cherished in every household, and its name and fruits become as a shower of blessing to the long lines of generations who shall succeed us.”
In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for planting of trees; and this holiday, called Arbor Day, was first observed with planting of more than a million trees in Nebraska. Year 2005 is the 133rd Anniversary of Arbor Day and is now a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and tree care.
Why Trees? We celebrate Arbor Day because trees are so important to the community. Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen, provide habitat for wildlife and beautify our community. Trees are a renewable resource giving us paper, wood for our homes, fuel for our fires and are a source of joy and spiritual renewal wherever they are planted. Arbor Day is celebrated on a date appropriate for tree planting in each region of the United States.
Round Rock has come a long way
When I look back in time and remember 2002, I remember starting the first Round Rock Arbor Day planting with two employees, a handful of friends and family and 20 community service restitution participants. We planted 50 trees behind the lake. I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. In 2003, we started planting along Harrell Parkway starting at the entrance by soccer field and we had 100 volunteers start the tree pathway that now runs into the park. Each year this event continues to grow.
In 2004 I made presentations to all civic clubs, contacted schools and got great assistance and lots of volunteers from the Volunteer Center and doubled to 200 volunteers. Organizations represented in the tree planting included Stony Point ROTC, Round Rock High School, Noon Rotary Club, Sunrise Rotary Club, Rotarians from Saltillo, Mexico (guests of the Sunrise Club), Noon Kiwanis, Morning Sertoma, Leadership Round Rock class, Chaparral's Women Club, YMCA Indian Guides (Metowoc), Cub Scout Pack 165, and representatives from City Departments, including: Library, Public Works- Engineering, Public Works- Water Plant, Fire Department, Planning and Community Development, Human Resources, and of course, various divisions of Parks and Recreation.
We went International, with Sunrise Rotary Club bringing their guest club members from Mexico, that were here visiting that weekend. I brought my Bosnian friends and family to volunteer and joked all day to watch us go global. I wonder if I can lure any Canadians this year that might be wintering down here!
Trees were in the ground within an hour, and mulching was done the second hour. Almost all the volunteers were done by 11 a.m. Food was donated by Lone Star Bakery, Ole Taco, and Golden Corral. It was so great to have such a big support and participation of all ages from all over the city and it was good example of shared fellowship at this event.
What to expect at Arbor Day 2005
City of Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry Division, with the help of hundreds of volunteers will be planting 100 trees in Old Settlers Park at Palm Valley on Saturday, April 23, 2005 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon for Arbor Day. Mayor Nyle Maxwell will proclaim April 23 as Arbor Day during the April 14 Council meeting.
Planting is scheduled rain or shine, but we hope it will shine. We will plant one hundred trees along Harrell Parkway from the tennis courts to County Road 113. Since everything is bigger and better in Tejas, I hope that we get even more then 200 volunteers this year. After all, as I joke at club presentations, I do not ask for money or votes. I only ask for people to come and shovel, so it should not be a problem at all.
Arbor Day tree planting volunteers will arrive at 8:30 a.m. to sign in and enjoy breakfast and refreshments provided by various sponsors. We will have more then just planting this year, with special guest Smokey the Bear and educational booths set up with representatives from Texas Forest Service, County Extension Service with my friend and colleague, Christy Stromberg, present to answer all your gardening questions and/or give you handouts and educational material.
Another great addition to this year’s Celebration will be the presence and activities of Library Children Services. The Round Rock Public Library staff has organized fun activities for kids. My gratitude goes to Dale Ricklefs, Library Director, as well as Children Services employees for this suggestion. City Environmental Services will have its booth exhibit with some promotional material. This year we even had an Arbor Day committee consisted of 10 to 15 people that eagerly volunteer to organize event, brainstorm idea and volunteer for assignments. They my tree hugging hearth tick faster with their enthusiasm for the event. I say we are definitely growing and came a long way! We will have welcoming remarks, the reading of the Arbor Day Proclamation and then the tree planting will begin. Tree planting holes will be dug, trees delivered and we will have 100 shovels. If you plan on volunteering and have a shovel, please bring your own so we can accommodate everyone.
This tree planting is part of a 10-year goal of Round Rock Forestry to fill the barren areas of Old Settlers Park with trees and shade. This will be the fourth Arbor Day in a row that we will have planting at Old Settlers Park. I am very excited about us being able to finally have Harrell Parkway completely aligned with trees in just three years. Now it does look like a true “park” way, indeed. I am so grateful to all those from the past several years that volunteered to make this dream true. What an impact.
To sign up as a volunteer to help at the 2005 Arbor Day Celebration, please call the Round Rock Volunteer Center at 733-7625 or if you have questions about the event and volunteering you may contact Heather Brewer, Round Rock Forestry Arborist at (512) 341-3368 or myself at 341-3350. As I am preparing to visit all civic clubs to recruit volunteers and talk to everybody in community that has green thumb for support, I ask you to contact the Volunteer Center or Forestry and let us know if you will be able to join us.
Please bring your gloves and a smile (and extra shovel, just in case) to this planting. Look forward to shovel with hundreds of ya’ll.
Forestry Manager Emsud Horozovic